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Differences Between User Mode and Privileged EXEC Mode of a Router

Updated on July 10, 2011

A router has two types of modes to work. They are User Mode and Privileged EXEC Mode. These two modes of a Router is not the same. There exists some differences. This page describes the differences between User Mode and Privileged EXEC Mode of a Router.

Differences between User Mode and Privileged EXEC Mode of a Router

In the following paragraphs, you will find the differences between User Mode and Privileged EXEC Mode of a Router.

User Mode of a router is the default mode. After log-in to a router you will directly entered to User Mode. But the Privileged EXEC Mode is not the default mode of a router. You don't be there after log in to a router.

When you are in the User Mode, you will see a ">" symbol. But for Privileged EXEC Mode, a "#" symbol is presented there. Say, the name of a router is Router. Now, look the following:

When you are in User Mode:

Router >

When you are in Privileged EXEC Mode:

Router #

The User mode of a router allows you to view the state of the router. But User mode does not allow you to modify the router's configuration. But the Privileged EXEC mode allows you to modify router's configuration. Without Privileged EXEC mode, you are unable to configure the router's configuration.

To access the User mode, you don't need to type any command. After log-in, you are staying in User mode. But to access Privileged EXEC Mode, you must have to type a command. The command enable is used to access Privileged EXEC Mode.

How to switch form User Mode to Privileged EXEC Mode

When you are log in to the router, you are in User mode. To switch to Privileged EXEC Mode, you have to type a command enable. When you are in Privileged EXEC Mode, you will see that there is a # symbol after the router name. Privileged EXEC Mode is used to configure the router. The commands to access Privileged EXEC Mode from the User Mode is given below:


The User mode is a subset of the Privileged EXEC mode. Only a certain number of commands are available at the user exec mode.

All these are the differences between the User Mode and the Privileged EXEC Mode of a Router.

© Written by rancidTaste

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      Atraeyu 4 years ago

      This helps because people use User EXEC interchangeably with User Mode, and of course Privileged EXEC, to differentiate in many of the practice questions I've found, so I started to get confused by EXEC used anywhere at all. Especially when looking at password requirements, remember User Mode will require you to enter the 'line console' configuration while privileged is entered directly from global config.

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      Augusto 4 years ago

      Very good explanations, congratulations

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      sushil 5 years ago

      Good information

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      ashu 6 years ago

      good explanation , but please explain about functional difference

    • profile image

      ALLWIN.C.JOSE 6 years ago


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      khan 6 years ago

      Seriously so gud difference it is, so informative

    • profile image

      Anil 6 years ago

      Thanks for it

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      Kaushik Phookan 7 years ago

      Nicely written up. Thank you for stating the differences so briefly but yet elaborately. Have a nice day!